Gift Guide: The Best Music Toys for Toddlers (and Preschoolers!)

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Holiday Gift Guide for the best music toys for toddlers and preschoolers

Your Gift Guide of the Best Music Toys for Toddlers and Preschooler

Without a doubt, there are loads of gifts out there for toddlers that love music. But, it can be pretty overwhelming walking down an aisle seeing and hearing all the musical toys there are! And this often leads to the all-important question: “What are the best music toys for toddlers?”

The truth is, almost everyone has a special little one that they want to get a gift for during the holiday season – nieces or nephews, grandchildren, godchildren, even your own child! And what a better way to encourage their musical development that with one of the possibilities below.

Now, if you despise the thought of another loud, annoying toy in your household, please keep reading! Because these are gifts that spark musical creativity. These are musical gifts that can engage children for many years. And these are gifts that don’t require any tape over speakers!

What can you expect from this gift guide for the best music toys for toddlers?

You’ll find that this gift guide was created with the modern parent in mind. All the gifts below fit into these 3 categories:

  • Affordability. The items are on this list affordable. Every musical item listed here is under $30 with the exception of the Toniebox. You’ll find more on that below.
  • Durability. The toys should last for several years. I, personally, am a big fan of well-built, sustainable toys. It’s important that the toys engage children on multiple levels so that toddlers enjoy them for years – not just a few months.
  • Sanity. Parents should be able to maintain sanity while their children play with their musical toys! Enough said. (This is perhaps the most important point.)

With this in mind, this begs the questions:

What do I get a toddler or preschooler who loves music?

As a parent myself of two small children, I’m always a bit weary to suggest musical toys because I think we all some toy with duct tape over those speakers. Or you have a toy that your toddler looked at once and never touched again.

So, what are the best music toys for toddlers then? Toys that introduce your child to basic musical concepts, like melody and rhythm are perfect. Alternatively, look for toys that not only engage your child in musical ways but that also spark their creativity and can be used in many ways.

It’s also important to remember that you also have to enjoy the toy, or at the very least, be able to listen to it for a while. If the musical toy annoys you, then you’re more likely to put it away and not encourage your toddler to play with it. And, you won’t typically engage them with it either.

So please rest assured that the toys I’ve recommended here are both beneficial for your toddler and not annoying for you. Without any further delay, please enjoy the curated list of the best musical toys for toddlers (or preschoolers!).

Holiday gift guide: best music toys for toddlers and preschoolers

Quick Overview of the Best Music Gifts for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Item Price Where to Buy
Musical Books
From about $8
from £8
£15 and up
HABA Shakin' Eggs
Child's Ukulele
From about $25 and up
Various Stores
The Tonie Box System
Starter Bundles at $99

Just a quick note about prices:
While some of the prices are notated in pounds (£), many of the stores are based in the US (like Bella Luna Toys). So, don’t let that put you off.  If you do live in the US, the prices will be shown in $. 

Magic Music Wand

I can truly get lost looking through all the toys, books, and musical instruments that have listed on Bella Luna Toys. They have so much to offer!

I chose this wand simply because of the possibilities. Even if your child doesn’t sing yet, they can play with the wand and enjoy the chime as it rings out when they strike something. You can use this wand’s chime as the starting pitch when singing to your child. Ask your little one if the wand makes different sounds on different objects. Or, your child can simply play imaginative games with the wand.

Another reason I picked this is because it is one of less expensive items for their music toys. You can truly splurge on a wooden lyre or a glockenspiel. But for those of us with a tighter budget, the magic music wand is a wonderful place to start. It’s small, quiet, inexpensive, AND it encourages creativity! Who could wish for a better combination when getting a musical toy?

Cost: £7

Children’s Books About Music

Books are often overlooked as musical gifts. And there are so many types of books available that deal with music, too! Not only are there books that tell about composers or artists, but there are others as well. Try some music button books (like The Story Orchestra Series), books that are loaded with rhythm and rhymes, even jazzy books! Even nursery rhyme books are loaded with musical qualities since many of the rhymes have an accompanying melody.

Reading to your child from birth is such a wonderful (and easy) way to engage with them! And each language is truly musical. Just think of the rhythms of the words, the melodic tendencies of each language, the patterns of phrases, and even the cadences of each sentence, question or exclamation!

Cost: Various Prices, generally around $10
Best Music Gifts for Toddlers: Nursery Rhyme or Song Prints
Image Courtesy of Indigo Pig

Nursery Rhyme Prints

Speaking of nursery rhymes, why not get a beautiful nursery rhyme printable! Because so many are of the rhymes are set to a melody, they have become classic cornerstones of children’s music.

And while many of these can be used to decorate a nursery, I think having a set of lovely prints of your child’s favorite nursery rhyme is a great toddler or preschooler room decoration! It can act as a constant reminder of their favorite song or nursery rhymes.

Or perhaps, you’ve always sung “You Are My Sunshine” to them as their nighttime lullaby ritual. You can have a constant reminder of the lyrics and their ritual with these kinds of printables. There are so many wonderful prints to choose from that can suit any style.

Etsy has an amazing number of things to choose from that will support your child’s musical development and taste. So, it’s always worth taking a look to see what is on offer. And while a musical print isn’t exactly a musical toy, it can serve as a reminder of their favorite songs or nursery rhymes and encourage their artistic creativity to represent their favorite.

Cost: From £8 and up


A Set of Musical Instruments

Can’t decide whether your child would rather play with the xylophone or a percussive instrument? Then you should definitely gift them with a set like this.

If you aren’t ready to splurge for a larger set of instruments, check out this shop’s other options for smaller sets of instruments. I specifically chose this shop because you can choose different sets of instruments that are more age appropriate for your child.

But if you do decide to go for the larger instrument set, you’ve got rhythm instruments as well as instruments that can play a melody. So, all in all, you’ve got multiple options here.

Cost: 15 Pounds and up


HABA Shakin’ Eggs

A magic music wand not exactly your child’s cup of tea? What about a more percussive style instrument? Like these Haba Shakin’ Eggs – each makes a different type of rattling sound and one even twists. They do fit easily in small hands and are recommended for ages 2 and up.

These little eggs are perfect for exploring sounds! And, if you’ve seen here elsewhere on the website, you’ll know I’m a fan of beginning with exploring sounds. Have your little one listen to each sound. Can they reproduce a similar sound? Can they remember which color makes which sound? How do the sounds mix together with two eggs are shaken together?

These will also require your toddler to work on their fine motor skills. For example, they’ll need to learn to twist the two halves of the egg to get a sound. Your toddler can also shake them to the rhythm of their favorite song. And, because they are so colorful, you can additionally help them learn their colors!

Cost: £23
Best toddler gifts: A mother teachers her daughter how to play on a ukulele

A Ukulele for Toddlers

Now, some of you many think that getting an actual instrument for toddlers is a terrible idea. But, there are so many things you can teach your toddler about instruments when they are young. And that’s in addition to their experimentation on the instrument itself!

First and foremost, take this opportunity to help them learn to be gentle with instruments. Being gentle with them and learning how to gently strum the strings is great for toddlers. It doesn’t mean they can only play softly either. But, in almost any music class you’ll attend, they will encourage the children and how them how to be gentle with musical instruments.    

A ukulele is one of the best beginner instruments that you can get for toddlers. It’s a perfect size for them and quite easy to get going with right out of the box. If you aren’t sure which ones are a bit more robust for little kids, check out what The Guitar Junkie says about which ukuleles are the best for kids.

These ukuleles are typically designed to be a bit more robust! And the website lists the pros and cons of each instrument, so you’ll be sure to find one that suits your needs!

Just keep in mind a toddler most likely will be interested in “strumming” the strings and singing along. And while it may sound like noise to us, it’s an incredible opportunity for your toddler or preschooler to express their creativity. Watch how they rhythmically strum the strings. See if they change between playing loud and soft. Can they strum and sing along all by themselves? It’s great to sit and watch their creative musical talents emerge!

Cost: Starting at about $25


The Tonie Box System

This is the only item on this gift guide that is not under $30. But there are a few reasons I recommend the Tonie Box System for children, even toddlers! Just be aware that this is recommended for children aged 3 and up by the creators, so keep that in mind if you decide to purchase one.

First, this is definitely an audio device that is created with children in mind. It’s robust, sturdy enough to handle a tumble, and portable. All qualities that you look for in a children’s toy.

These are also quite special since you can pick and choose which stories your child can listen to. Each character represents a well-known story and you’ll find many Disney movies, Sesame Street, Julia Donaldson (author of “The Gruffalo”), plus many others. There are even several song characters to choose from that play just music!

But perhaps the most individualized character is the recordable character. This one allows you to record your own stories, songs, or anything else for your child. So, there really is something for everyone.

Cost: Starter Sets are from $99

So, there you a have unique collection of the best music gifts for toddlers (or even preschoolers!). This is just a small sample of the types of music gifts you can get for toddlers who love music. These types of music gifts and toys will engage those young children for years to come and they won’t drive you crazy along the way!

Happy music making,

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